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MND mulls reduced prison term for soldiers

MND mulls reduced prison term for soldiers

The Ministry of National Defense said yesterday it has been researching the possibility of reducing prison terms for soldiers who violate military criminal law, in line with the governments' draft national commutation act, under which prisoners sentenced to less than one year in jail will have their sentences reduced.
In a statement released yesterday, the MND denied reports in the Chinese-language press that it was discussing with the Ministry of Justice excluding soldiers from the newly proposed national commutation act. If the bill is approved, the MND stated, some 360 of the approximately 600 soldiers currently in military prisons are likely to have their sentences reduced.
A chance at a fresh start
The Chinese-language China Times yesterday reported that the MND was insisting on no reduction of sentences for offenders of military criminal law, despite the fact that they were included in the last four national commutations.
MOJ Vice Minister Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) last month proposed a commutation act that would be applicable to offenders who committed minor crimes and were sentenced to less than one year in prison.
The act will not include persons convicted of serious crimes or sentenced to at least one year in jail, and there is no question of prisoners on death row having their sentences commuted to life imprisonment, Lee said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the Cabinet will further discuss the draft bill with MOJ. He noted that while there should no further recourse for some prisoners, there are others who should be given a chance to make a fresh start.
Likewise, the Ministry of Defense said, in the interest of public safety, national security and military principles, soldiers convicted of serious crimes and sentenced to more than one year should not have their sentences reduced.
According to the MND, examples of military inmates who would not be considered under the proposed law include those convicted for surrendering to an enemy; using violence to threaten a superior; hijacking a military vessel or aircraft; destroying, damaging or rendering any military infrastructure useless; and illegally occupying, selling, transporting, or manufacturing military arms or ammunition without authorization.
No parole
In addition, soldiers who committed pillage, robbery, or sexual assault in violation of the armed forces law, before October 2, 2001 when the law was amended, will not be eligible to have their sentences commuted, the MND said.
Soldiers who violated the "Military Secrets Act" by disclosing, delivering, gathering, or searching for confidential military information, before the law was abandoned on January 7, 2004, would not be eligible for reprieve under the proposed bill, the MND said.


Updated : 2021-06-14 21:04 GMT+08:00